2020 was a year to be remembered, for all the wrong reasons. Every month brought upon a completely new set of challenges for us to face, as individuals, communities, and nations. Regardless of where you are in the world, 2020 hit you hard, as it did for most. With that in mind and a new year just around the corner, I vote that we leave 2020 behind us and work towards the future. How do we do that? I've compiled a list of some examples to help. Some of these examples may help you more than others, but each and every one is beneficial in it's own way.
1. Forgive yourself.
Throughout 2020, there have been a lot of issues, many of them we may hold within ourselves. For example, I gained 20 pounds since quarantining. I have spent many months hating myself for doing so. Now, as 2020 rolls to a close, I realize that I have spent an extreme amount of energy into negative feelings about my weight. With noting these negative feelings, I am able to see them and recenter my thoughts. Now, I am able to see that my weight gain was a natural reaction to being forced in to a sedentary lifestyle without changing my other habits. My ability to note those facts has helped me forgive myself and send that same energy into positive actions, such as changing my eating habits and working out.
"That's great, Josh, but how does it help me?"
You can do the exact same thing, but for any "problem" you may have with yourself. I suggest to take note of your thoughts and take inventory of any negative thoughts you may have. Every time you notice a negative thought, don't fight it, don't stress about it, instead notice it, understand its reason for being there, and let it pass through. If you fight that thought, you give it permission to solidify and actualize within your mind and body. By letting it pass, you allow it to pass through your mind and let it leave just the same, not giving it a home. This will help you to forgive yourself more and kick the negativity to the curb.
2. Forgive others.
This is major, especially after this year. This year has allowed us the time to sit and think. It has also allowed us the time to notice other people and what may or may not aggravate us about a person. My biggest note here is to drive in this simple yet complex fact:
Everybody is on their own path.
What does that mean? For me, it means that everybody is on this planet, at this specific moment in time, for a different reason than you. Every single person you meet is here for a different reason and has a different purpose, whether we think about it spiritually or physically. Everyday we live, our paths intersect with people, whether they meet for a split second, or they begin to run parallel with ours. Every path we cross and notice, we must remember, their path is not ours, and our path is not theirs. When I began to see this fact, it allowed me to release a lot of pent up emotions surrounding people.
It is not my job to know your path.
Period. It is not your job to dwell on my path, or anyone else's. Our job is to recognize that every single person has a different path in life, with differents bumps, roadblocks, materials, experiences, etc. Each person's path provides them with the experience and knowledge for them to understand, not for us. The faster we recognize this, the easier it will be for us to forgive others and redirect the negative energies into positive outlets.
3. Write down the bad.
Grab a journal, notebook, word doc, sticky note, whatever, and follow these steps:
Write down every negative experience.
Take understanding of how each experience affected you: physically, mentally, emotionally.
With each experience, think about what you learned from it.
Think about how that experience might help you in the future.
Feel free to modify these steps for however best fits you and your experiences, but these are the exact steps I take. Following these steps allows us an outlet to air our grievances and negative experiences, then allows us to find the purpose behind each one. Each specific experience we have teaches us something. Usually, it's the bad experiences that we retain the most. When we retain the bad experiences, much like the negative thoughts in the 1st section, we allow it to solidify and affect us negatively. Following these steps allows us to notice the negative, and reinterpret our experiences. With each negative experience we refocus, we raise our spirits and vibrations a little more.
An example of this for me: The COVID pandemic.
1. What happened?
- The COVID-19 pandemic happened. I was forced to quarantine and isolate myself. I was forced to completely alter my routines.
2. How did it affect me?
- This experience was largely negative.
- I was no longer able to be in the presence of other people.
- My daily routines were messed up I was forced to alter how my days went.
- I became angry (like, angry angry).
- I became depressed.
- I gained extreme weight and began to hate myself.
3. What did it teach me?
- Altering my routines made me slow down and really notice what I do every day, which helped me recognize some of the minor actions I take and how to better my routine.
- Isolating myself forced me to stop focusing on others and to refocus on me. This helped me to understand how my own thoughts and actions changed my mental and emotional being.
- I learned how to positively deal with my emotions and become proactive rather than reactive.
4. How might this help me?
- I won't take seemingly minuscule tasks for granted.
- I am able to notice how actions can affect me.
- I can notice how I might be reacting to a situation and show me a better method.
This list will change for every single person with every single experience, but ultimately will help realign our mentality and allow us to let go of some of the negativity while showing gratitude to what each experience has taught us
4. Write down the good.
Just as we wrote down our bad or negative experiences to help us notice how it affects us, we should do the same for the good experiences. As I said earlier, we tend to focus on and remember the negative experiences so much that we lose sight of the good things that happen on a daily basis. This is our time to focus on the good that happened. For example:
I started a new job.
My wife and I moved.
I was attuned to Reiki Level I.
I passed my classes for the year.
I reinvested my energy to fight for good.
I began to fight for a better society.
I am helping other people along their paths.
From an early age, we are told not to brag, to be humble, to not show off. While all of these are good in their own way, they are also being interpreted as Focus on the bad. Don't tell anybody if something good happens. Forget the good experiences. I've had to relearn that focusing on the good experiences is not bad practice. In fact, focusing on the good helps us to realize that the world is not just doom and gloom, but it is beautiful. There are everyday miracles that allow us to keep pushing forward as individuals and we should be allowed to show gratitude for those experiences.
When we allow ourselves to see the good, we allow ourselves to be happy and can begin to heal.
5. Refocus your (at/in)tention.
This pairs well with the previous two steps. I've been told, "where your attention goes, actions will follow." What this means to me is that if I focus my attention to negative things, negative actions tend to follow and vice versa. If I wake up and think today will be good, I will achieve greatness I am starting my day with a positive note and good intentions, allowing good actions to follow. Obviously, not everything will be good and there is a chance for bad to happen, but this gives space for the good to present itself.
This rings true to every minute, hour, day, week, month, year, and so on. When we set our intention and attention towards something, the actions will follow. That being said, if I set my intention toward finally finishing my website, then my attention will focus there, allowing the space to carve out time and focus specifically on that. When I set my intention, my attention follows and lead my actions towards that too.
I know that none of these are easy tasks. Each task will require internal inquiry and work in order for it to be effective. I also know that if you are able to do any of these, it will greatly improve your quality of life.
How do you use these in your lives? How will you use this to better your experience? Let me know in the comments, on social media, or through email.
Thank you for reading this. I am grateful that our paths have crossed.
(p.s. not me pictured)